Matthew Bannister is stepping down from his chairmanship of the independent radio production company Wire Free Productions after nearly 7 years in the post. He is handing over to co-founder Husain Husaini. Matthew said, “I am very proud of all we have achieved at Wire Free: our award winning coverage of a heart transplant on 5Live, producing hundreds of entertaining and informative hours on BBC Local Radio with the Mark Forrest/Georgey Spanswick show, lighting up 5Live’s Sunday evenings with Peter Allen, Jane Garvey and now Caroline Barker and bringing cutting edge poetry to Radio 4 in our Power Lines series. I’ve loved every minute of working with all the creative people at Wire Free, but I now want to put all my efforts into making and promoting my own podcast Folk on Foot and, of course, my ongoing commitment to presenting Last Word on Radio 4. I wish Husain and Wire Free every success in the future. Husain said, “Teaming up with Matthew again to found Wire Free was everything I hoped it would be, stimulating, fun and productive. I wish him the very best with Folk on Foot and all his brilliant broadcasting.
Wire Free Productions has created a new 3 part series on Spoken Word Poetry for BBC Radio 4. Power Lines was produced by Wire Free’s Sally Spurring with the help of presenters and poets Inua Ellams and Sabrina Mahfouz. We look at how spoken word has become the breeding ground for a whole new generation of writers who are changing poetry in the UK. We talk to poets from Manchester, Huddersfield, Bury, Edinburgh, Bristol and Wrexham, on boats, in forests, theatres, parks and pubs. The first programme is broadcast on the 6th November at 2300 and focusses on Politics. Inua Ellams talks to spoken word poet Zia Ahmed who deals with his frustration with racism by ‘speaking it out’. Peter Bearder explains how some protest poets are being drawn into mainstream politics through the Labour Party. And he finds 23 year old Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan whose slam competition winning poem has been viewed by over two million people online.
Inua Ellams meeting poet Joelle Taylor for the BBC Radio 4 series Power Lines
Wire Free Productions has made a series of 8 podcasts about the life of Diana, Princess of Wales for BBC Radio 5 live. Presented by Natasha Kaplinsky, they tell her story through the famous photos that defined how we came to see her. All the episodes are available here.
Wire Free Productions has won the contract to make the new Jane Garvey and Peter Allen show on BBC Radio 5 Live. The show begins in November on Sunday nights at 1930 and will reunite 5 Live’s most celebrated presenter duo. Click here for a media release to read more.
Wire Free has won a 2016 BBC Radio Award for “Best Factual Production.” It was given for our work for BBC Radio 5 live on Heart Transplants. The citation reads “The judges were impressed by the commitment of 5Live to this programme, building trust to the point where Chris Warburton was able to record in the operating theatre during a heart transplant. There is an outstanding moment when Chris is standing next to the patient at the point when he has no heart and Chris vividly describes the visual differences between the patient’s old diseased heart and the new one. The judges also praised 5Live for allowing the story to unfold throughout the day, rather than confining it to a single programme. This isn’t just a great piece of factual radio, it is a compelling story told in a way which makes the listener care about the people involved and it is this powerful combination of journalism and storytelling which made it a winner.”
Wire Free has made three programmes for BBC Radio 5 live out of special audio-diaries compiled by three junior doctors in hospitals in Suffolk, Gwent, and Tyne and Wear. The doctors give their honest reactions to some of the difficult situations they find themselves in, including dealing with sick children, working long and hard hours, and dealing with death. They will run on Sundays at 1930 on April 10th, 17th and 24th. Plus there are extracts in the Phil Williams shows in the evenings. The first one will be available here. The Controller of 5 live, Jonathan Wall said in a tweet, they were “the most powerful radio you will hear all year”
Wire Free Productions was behind a special day of programming for BBC Radio 5 live at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. We built on a relationship we had with the QE after our heart transplant special by taking presenters and reporters from across the network onto the wards. The content spanned 24 hours and gave a real insight into life in a busy and remarkable place. Some or our work can be seen here.